Barrier could have saved P.C. girls | ParkRecord.com
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Barrier could have saved P.C. girls

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

By placing a cable barrier in the median to help prevent motorists from crossing into oncoming traffic, the state hopes to prevent another string of fatalities like those that occurred last month on Interstate 80 in Parleys Canyon.

Killed as a result of a woman crossing into oncoming lanes near Lambs Canyon Jan. 21 were 17-year-old Rayn Ewing and 3-year-old Alexis Paget of Park City.

"[Barriers] save lives and I am so excited about that because a cable barrier would have made possibly a different outcome," Alexis’ father Tim Paget said. "Even if the car would have come through it wouldn’t have come through at the same force."

Earmarked by the Utah Department of Transportation is $150,000 for installation of a barrier near where the fatal crash occurred in January, according to state Sen. Kevin Van Tassell, a Vernal Republican who represents Park City.

"It’s no longer a rural highway. It’s really an urban road," Van Tassell said. "They are going to put a cable barrier in the worst part."

Meanwhile, by agreeing to fund a budget request submitted by state Democratic Rep. Christine Johnson, who represents the Snyderville Basin on Capitol Hill, lawmakers could provide more speed enforcement in Parleys Canyon.

"Some of your people are going to get more tickets," Van Tassell warned the Summit County Commission Wednesday. "You’re going to see increased enforcement, at least during rush hour."

By requesting $500,000 from the Legislature, Johnson hopes more officers with radar guns can patrol the deadly stretch of road. She encourages citizens to visit her Web site, http://www.electjohnson.com, for ways to contact House members responsible for appropriations on the Hill.

Prosecutors are still determining why Woods Cross resident Suzanne Graser, 47, crossed the median ultimately killing the two children while traveling westbound on Interstate 80.

"If there is no alcohol or drugs involved and you have a pure and simple accident then it’s difficult to charge a crime," said Marty Verhoef, justice division director for the Salt Lake District Attorney’s Office. "It’s the DA’s call whether there is sufficient negligence amounting to criminal negligence."


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